Who really loves you?


            “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”   

            Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10: 7-10.)


            Sheep are animals that have no natural defense against predators.  Shepherds are the only protection a sheep has.  When not grazing, most sheep are held inside of what is known as a ‘fold;’ an enclosure that protects the sheep from human and animal predators.  The door is the only way in, and the only way out, which the shepherd controls.  Sheep are very good at recognizing and following a shepherd’s voice; they come to rely on the Shepherd, and to trust him to lead them to green pastures.  Sheep are natural followers.  When one sheep begins to walk, the rest form a line and follow that one sheep.  The instinct to follow is so strong that if one sheep walks off a cliff the rest will follow (this is not an exaggeration.)  So it is important that the one leading them does not lead them into danger, or over a cliff, or in to a canyon to die.  Jesus is the good shepherd that leads his sheep to an eternal pasture.  Our Father has provided Him; an opening; a door, which anyone can use to find safety, .  He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”  During this time many ungodly men were attempting to lead people astray.  The priests were wealthy, finely dressed and lived in luxury.  They ate meat at every meal, road on donkeys while others walked, and caused many to despise God.  Jesus came and revealed who they were, and turned hearts back to God.  His own began to flock to him because he came to give something to the sheep; his life; after rising from the dead he conquered death and became able to give life to the world.  Death has always been the enemy of every human being born into this world.  What is the abundance of life he gives?  There are two kinds of life.  First is the physical life we receive at birth.  This is like a cup; an outward shell that remains empty and devoid of inner life.  Jesus said that a person had to be “born again.”  This re-birth refers to the internal birth that comes from the spirit of God as it flows in to a person and fills them up when they choose Jesus Christ.  Everyone lives, but not everyone receives the excess life; the eternal life that only God can give; the life he has given through his Son.

            Each and every day at the grocery store, there is a right and a wrong way to get your groceries.  The right way is to wait in line, and go past the checker, paying along the way.  The wrong way is to try and bypass the checkout line, and head for the door.  One way will get you home in time for dinner.  The other way will get you a meal in the county jail while you try to get rid of the taste of pepper spray in your mouth.  You can also head for the backdoor, or the side door, or if possible, hide until the store closes and somehow sneak out.  There are an innumerable number of ways to exit the store with groceries the wrong way, but only one way is the right way.  There are many supposed ways to know God, but only one way that God Himself has provided.  That way is Jesus Christ.

            Today, there seems to be a new cult, philosophy, or spiritual program on every corner.  Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Scientology, ‘Spiritism,’ and list goes on and on.  But Jesus Christ is the only way to know the one true God.  Anyone who claims there is another way and tries to lead others down that path is a thief and a robber; they care nothing for those they are leading.  They will almost always be seeking to get something from you, rather than seeking to give something to you.  Jesus Christ came and gave his life for his sheep; for you and me.  There is one way, and one path, and one shepherd.  If you can trust him, if you hear him and believe him, then you just need to follow him.  You are one of his sheep, and he loves you, and he will lead you in to a rich full life, in a place where God’s eternal Spirit dwells, in peace, and in love.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to walk after You, and to listen to You and to have faith in You.  Jesus, please lead us, take us by the hand, and guide us past those who would seek to kill us, steal from us, and destroy us.  Give us Your abundant eternal life, and help us to lead others to You as well.  Father we love You and we trust You, and we thank You, and we give our lives to You now.  We ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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